The Renaissance Period witnessed the refinement of art in drawing the human figure. Particularly, Italian artists during this age studied closely the anatomy of the human body using pen and paper to capture “a more lifelike, sculptural portrayal of the human figure. ” Artists during this time drafted their creative ideas before painting or sculpture. The Florentine artist, Filippino Lippi was one of those who exemplified in drafting creative thoughts on paper. In “Lamentation of Christ at the Tomb,” the artist shows craftsmanship of the human figure achieved through drafting.
At present, the work can be viewed in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. Filippino Lippi is the son of another great artist, Fra Filippo Lippi. He received his first training from his father. Later after his father’s death, he worked as an apprentice for Botticelli, who served as a great influence to his art, especially in presenting human figures. As a draftsman, although he is not a match to Leonardo da Vinci, some say he came close to the great master. He is best known for “painting altarpieces and frescoes in quattrocento Florence.
” In “Lamentation of Christ at the Tomb,” the artist depicts the dead Christ being supported by one of his disciples. This drawing reflects the style of his masters, as well as those of his age. A close view of the image reveals 14th century apocryphal description of Christ with the large nose, long, curly hair parted in the middle, and short beard divided in two just below the chin. The dramatic facial expression both of Christ and his disciple characterizes the style of Renaissance artists of depicting realistic human emotions of melancholy.
The curved lips, curved brows, and gloomy eyes altogether suggest inner emotions of misery, even of the dead Christ. The image also reflects influence of Botticelli on the artist. Particularly, the slightly tilted head and the loose yet motionless arms at the sides remind viewers of the works of the former, especially “The Birth of Venus. ” Like the human figures of Michaelangelo, the figure of Christ has well-built abdominal structure, despite its leanness. In addition, the collarbone and ribs which are highly emphasized by white gouache make the image appear anatomically realistic. Figure 1. Lamentation of Christ at the Tomb.
Note: Copyright R. T. Miller, Jr. 1954. Proportion is a very important aspect among Renaissance artists. Specifically, the figure of Christ shows the upper extremities proportionate to the legs, and vice versa. However, a closer analysis would bring the viewer to question why the artist depicted Christ with such awkward leanness. Notably, the legs are of similar thickness to the edges of the tomb, which make them look awkward. Nevertheless, this suggests the weakness in the body of Christ, which further elucidates his innocence and the absence of muscular power, thus emphasizing the truth about his sacrifice.
Another feature that reflects Renaissance art is the pyramidal structure in the middle of the drawing. This style is similarly employed by other great artists such as Da Vinci. In Lippo’s drawing, the image of Christ supported by the disciple forms a pyramid in the middle, allowing it to achieve focus on the subject despite the well-defined background. Also, the two angels appear smaller to the subject, thus allowing achievement of focus on the subject. References List Bambach, Carmen. “Anatomy in the Renaissance”. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2000). http://www. metmuseum.
org/toah/hd/anat/hd_anat. htm (accessed March 27, 2009). Glueck, Grace. “In the Inimitable Hand Of a Master Draftsman. ” The New York Times. (October 31, 1997). http://www. nytimes. com/1997/10/31/arts/art-review-in-the-inimitable-hand-of-a-master-draftsman. html. (accessed March 27, 2009). Goldner, George, Bambach, Carmen, et al. “The Drawings of Filippino Lippi and his Circle. ” NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. Lippi, Filippino. “Lamentation of Christ at the Tomb. ” ca. 1500. (drawing). Image available from: Allen Memorial Art Museum <http://www. oberlin. edu/amam/Lippi. htm> (accessed 27 March 2009).